Otafiire fails to block rival, DP's Mao misses out

Countrywide- Hundreds of parliamentary candidates from various political parties were nominated on the first day with the blocking of DP president Norbert Mao, for not having a national ID, presenting one of the biggest surprises.

The fate of ministers; Kahinda Otafiire, Henry Banyenzaki and Idah Nantaba lies with court where petitions or cases on their candidature will be determined.

In several constituencies, party members who lost the contest to become flag bearers have decided to defy their party and stand as independents.

Otafiire fails
The Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Gen Kahinda Otafiire, has failed to secure a court injunction to stop nomination of his rival Captain (Rtd) Dononzio Kahonda, as the NRM flag bearer.

Capt Kahonda defeated Gen Otafiire, the incumbent Ruhinda County MP, in the October NRM party primaries.
Early this week, the minister went to court seeking a temporary injunction restraining Capt Kahonda from getting nominated as the NRM party flag bearer for the constituency in Mitooma District.

Mbarara High Court judge, Justice Duncan Gaswaga, on Tuesday adjourned the hearing of the petition to December 8.

The decision means Capt Kahonda can get nominated as the NRM party flag bearer in the exercise that started yesterday and ends today. Gen Otafiire did not appear in court but was represented by his lawyers.

In the application, Gen Otafiire claims that NRM party election officials ignored complaints raised by his agents at various polling stations, including harassment and being denied access to the results declaration forms.

The minister claimed he would suffer irreparable damage in the event that the party proceeds to front Capt Kahonda as its flag bearer.

However, Capt Kahonda told journalists outside the court: “(He is ) looking for sympathy but he cannot win, even if they cancel my results and we go independent, he cannot beat me, he should agree that he is a political failure and he has no people in Ruhinda.”

On November 19, the NRM electoral commission quashed a petition by Gen Otafire on grounds that it did not find sufficient evidence to warrant change of results.

The NRM, in a November 28 letter signed by the party’s electoral commission chairman, Dr Tanga Odoi, presented Mr Kahonda to the Electoral Commission as the NRM flag bearer.

Meanwhile, the EC has blocked Democratic Party president, Mr Norbert Mao’s nomination for Gulu Municipality parliamentary seat, arguing he is not a registered voter.

The EC spokesperson, Mr Jotham Taremwa, said Mr Mao might not have registered during the EC’s “additional” voter – and the mass – registration for national Identity Cards.

Registration for IDs was conducted last year whereas the EC’s additional voter registration was done mid this year.

“It is probable Mr Mao was not on the register [that is why he was turned away],” Mr Taremwa told the Daily Monitor last evening.

Although Mr Mao has been participating in previous elections, the EC said it had since dropped using the old voters cards.
Mr Mao acknowledges he did not register for the ID because he was bed-ridden when government conducted the exercise.

“After leaving the intensive care unit, I was too weak to register for the national ID,” Mr Mao told journalists in Gulu. “Later on, I met the Electoral Commission chairman, Mr Badru Kiggundu, who told me that he could not help because his hands were tied.”

Mr Mao said when he turned to Gen Aronda Nyakairima, the minister of Internal Affairs (RIP), he said he would soon be travelling to South Korea. He promised to help Mr Mao on his return. However, Gen Nyakairima died abroad.
The DP president accused the EC of playing in the hands of the NRM, which knows he is likely to beat NRM’s flag bear to the seat.

When contacted, NRM spokesperson Mr Ofwono Opondo dismissed Mr Mao’s claims.

“That is laughable, why should NRM be interested in Norbert Mao being an MP, he has been one before and there is nothing new he is bringing that NRM is afraid of. He is just afraid of losing and is using NRM as an excuse. He is now inconsequential in Uganda’s politics,” Mr Opondo said.